Dandy Don the Valiant’s Review: ALL-AMERICA COMIX #1 (One-Shot) – America the Beautiful!
All-America Comix #1
Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Cover Artist: Dustin Nguyen, Sonia Harris
Publisher: Image Comics
Pick this issue up on comiXology
Oh, hey, Mom. Since Fourth of July is coming up, I thought I would read a comic with an American theme in its title. So, I chose All-America Comix #1 by Image Comics. At least it looks patriotic. I’ll find out here in a few minutes. What’s that? Yes, Mom, I believe in the American dream. I try to live it every day. You haven’t lived your American dream yet? Why not? Oh, I see. Your American dream is for me to move out of the basement. No, you will not be dead by then! Geesh! Sorry about that, OG peeps. Now, let’s get to this week’s Dandy Don the Valiant’s weekly review.
Since we are coming up on the birthday of America, I thought I would pick a comic book that had something to do with America in some form or another, if possible. Low and behold, Image Comics has a one-shot issue coming out this week titled All-America Comix #1, written by Joe Casey. Since it had America in its title, I decided to check it out.
All-America Comix #1 is about a teenage female superhero called America Vasquez. She has her own Twitter page where she chronicles her exploits. Her handle is TheRealAmerica1 and she lives in La Puente, California, where she was born and raised. After we read one of her political Twitter rants, we get to see her in hand to hand combat against a formidable opponent which looks very similar to her. After defeating her opponent, she sends her away through an interdimensional portal. She is then met by a group of four superheroes that resemble Marvel’s Avengers, with slightly different names and outfits, of course (but not by much). They invite her to join them, but she declines and flies off.
America Vasquez is not your normal superhero. She doesn’t wear a cape, she doesn’t carry a shield (“I don’t really play defense”), and she doesn’t wear the typical superhero outfit. What she does wear is an homage to her grandfather. He was a staff sergeant for the 82nd Airborne Infantry Division of the United States Army that fought in Vietnam, so she wears “his colors.” She never knew her grandfather, but she wears “his gear as a reminder: There are still wars to fight.” She fights for truth, for justice, and the oppressed, all over the world, not just in the United States. She battles other super villains, that once again strangely resemble Marvel characters. She has labeled herself a “typical screenager.” That is someone who sees the world through various screens, such as a television, laptop, cellphone, etc. She says, “Give me a screen—any screen— and I was glued. My first window to the world… I just want to know the truth.” And then Casey throws in that strange cliffhanger with a twist. The twist you’ll want to read for yourself because you’ll never see it coming. I say strange because it’s only supposed to be a one-shot issue. I definitely want more!
Joe Casey had me on my toes with this issue. The title alone appears to be an homage to All-American Comics which was once published by DC Comics back in the 1940’s after taking over for All-American Publishing. Plus, there’s that Marvel connection with the characters in this issue, including our hero. Casey had created a Marvel character named America Chavez back in 2011. This new character, America Vasquez, has a very similar name and look, and perhaps could be a shot at Marvel over ownership. If so, publishing this character at Image Comics is the perfect place to do so, where he will have full ownership of this superhero. America speaks in English and Spanish, while also throwing in words from the Urban Dictionary. I loved it! When she thinks to herself, the dialogue is in Twitter form and is followed with hashtags. I found this issue entertaining and fun, while adding a freshness that isn’t frequently seen in comics today. I would enjoy seeing more of these types of stories. This is my favorite issue of the year and it’s not even close! If I had the ability to hand out Eisner Awards, I would give this the Issue of the Year Award today. It deserves one! While Casey also did the art, Sonia Harris added some beautiful colors to bring this story to life. Dustin Nguyen, who was working with Joe Casey for the first time in fifteen years, did a masterful job on the retro looking cover. Since it’s America’s birthday, buy this issue as a gift to yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
What’s that, Mom? Yes, America will be 244 years old on July 4th. No, Mom, I don’t think you need to bake a cake big enough to hold 244 candles. Oh, boy.